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Mechanical Engineer

British Antarctic Survey
£31,931- £39,915 plus generous benefits
Closing date
19 Sep 2021
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Job Details

Mechanical Engineer

Job reference: BAS 21/115

Contract type: Full Time

Duration: Open Ended

Salary: £31,931- £39,915 per annum

Benefits: We offer generous benefits

Team: Engineering and Technology teams

Location: Cambridge but with periods at sea or in polar regions

Closing date: 19 September, 2021 11:59 pm


Do you want the opportunity to work in a small dynamic team of engineers who design, develop and build unique equipment to support our science? We are looking for an enthusiastic person who will be responsible for the specification, design and procurement of new instrumentation. Ideally you have a proven background in developing ideas using solid modelling CAD software and an innovative approach to design and prototype engineering. Experience with Autodesk Inventor would be an advantage but training will be provided for the right candidate. The work is extremely varied, designing bespoke equipment for the use in the polar-regions on land, at sea and in the air. In your role you will be the point of contact for in-coming projects taking ideas from a conceptual phase through to the final product, including documentation and in some cases field trials and support. Another part of your job will be the maintenance and support of our marine science equipment mainly used on our polar research vessel the RRS Sir David Attenborough.

You have to be able to work in a team with both internal staff and external collaborators as well as sub-contractors. You will have a flexible approach and be able to manage your own work load and work to tight deadlines when required.

You will be based mainly in Cambridge, but you will work for up to 3 month/year in the polar regions supporting our science programmes on our polar research vessel the RRS Sir David Attenborough, or on one of our Antarctic stations or possibly deep field.

If you are a person who likes to work in a challenging and varied environment and have a range of engineering skills and experience we would like to hear from you.

Who we are

British Antarctic Survey enables world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. We employ a wide range of skilled science, operational and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica, on ships and aircraft, and in the Arctic. We work together to deliver research that uses the Polar Regions to advance our understanding of Earth as a sustainable planet. We embrace diversity and equality of opportunity and are committed to building inclusive and diverse teams that represent all backgrounds, with as wide a range of perspectives as possible.

British Antarctic Survey is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). NERC is part of UK Research and Innovation We employ experts from many different professions to carry out our Science as well as to keep the lights on, feed the research and support teams and keep everyone safe! If you are looking for an opportunity to work with amazing people in amazing places, then British Antarctic Survey could be for you. We aim to attract the best people for those jobs.


The role of the Mechanical Engineer is to take the professional lead for mechanical engineering project work within BAS.


ONC / HNC in Mechanical engineering (or equivalent)


Technical duties:

  • Specification, design and procurement of new instrumentation.
  • Development of new systems and equipment to meet customer requirements
  • Initiation and monitoring of in-house projects to ensure design standards are achieved.
  • Maintenance of all marine science equipment to be used on the SDA and the support of marine equipment on science cruises.
  • Ensuring installations on BAS ships, aircraft and Antarctic Stations are completed to specification and on schedule.
  • Supporting systems in the field including provision of all necessary spares and maintenance.

Management Responsibilities:

  • To act as a point of contact for in-coming projects.
  • Management of mechanical projects to ensure objectives are achieved and delivery schedules are met.
  • Preparation of work plans to include project work, small job requests.
  • Liaison with other members of the group, Staff and external collaborators.
  • Ensuring external contractors meet specified objectives.
  • Monitoring the use and selection of subcontractors to ensure that quality and standards are achieved.
  • Management of the preparation of documentation including manuals, reports, method statements and inter-departmental procedures.
  • It is essential that the individual appointed to the job is able to undertake a wide range of tasks and duties.
  • Other duties as appropriate.

Please quote reference for any queries: BAS 21/115

Closing date for receipt of application forms is: 19th September 2021

Interview Date: 5th October

At BAS, our vision is to be a world-leading centre for polar science and operations. Making our vision a reality depends on the excellence and diversity of our staff. We are committed to creating a workplace where all our staff can flourish and succeed. BAS is a Disability Confident employer, we are proud to hold a bronze Athena Swan award and we are a member of enei, the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion.

We appreciate the importance of achieving work-life balance and support this with a number of family and carer-friendly policies. Plus a flexible working policy for those who may wish to amend their working pattern or arrangement.


British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Based in Cambridge, United Kingdom, it has, for over 60 years, undertaken the majority of Britain's scientific research on and around the Antarctic continent. It now shares that continent with scientists from over thirty countries.


British Antarctic Survey enables world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. We employ a wide range of skilled science, operational and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica, on ships and aircraft as well in the Arctic.  We work together to deliver research that uses the Polar Regions to advance our understanding of Earth as a sustainable planet.  There are many opportunities to grow a successful career at BAS.  

Engineering and technology is critical to the success of polar research. Our world-leading research depends on the expertise of a wide range of specialists who work in Antarctica, onboard our ships, and in our Cambridge offices.

Mechanical engineering

Mechanical engineers work hand-in-hand with scientists to provide bespoke frontline science support across an exciting, diverse range of research programmes. Along with other specialist engineers, projects can include airborne survey systems (radar and cameras), meteorology instruments, hot water drilling equipment, ice coring machinery, space weather sensors such as very low frequency receivers, and even penguin weighbridges!

Mechanical engineers are based at Cambridge, and can be deployed on ships or stations, or into remote fieldwork locations.

Electrical engineering

Like mechanical engineers, electrical engineers work closely with scientists and other engineers to deliver unique pieces of equipment to support frontier science, as descibed above.

Electrical engineers are based at Cambridge, and are frequently deployed on ships or stations, or remote fieldwork locations.

IT engineering

IT engineers provide equipment and support for everyone in the organisation. Some IT engineers work alongside mechanical and electrical engineers on bespoke equipment for frontier science, as above. Others are service desk engineers and network engineers whose critical role is to keep business systems up and running.

Predominantly based in our Cambridge offices IT engineers acan also spend time on ships or stations in the polar regions.

Marine engineering

BAS employs two types of marine engineers:  a Cambridge-based team who are responsible for refitting and maintenance of all the science, propulsion and navigation equipment onboard ships;  and mariners such as the Chief Engineer, 2nd, 3rd and 4th engineers who work at sea to ensure ships equipment and systems run smoothly while on polar research or operational missions.

Aircraft Engineering

BAS operates two aircraft types (DHC-6 and DHC-7) primarily in the Antarctic, but also worldwide. BAS holds the necessary regulatory approved CAMO (Continued Airworthiness Management Organisation) function for these aircraft.  As such BAS has a small cell of dedicated aircraft engineering management staff within the Air Unit, based at Cambridge, to assure continuous airworthiness compliance, oversight, control and give direction to our contracted aircraft engineers on any work necessary to maintain and assure continued airworthiness in service in the world’s most challenging operating environments. The direct aircraft scheduled maintenance and rectification is accomplished through our approved contracted aircraft engineering entities, currently based in Canada.

Vehicle mechanics

Operating stations and vehicles in extreme climates such as the polar regions requires skilled mechanics and technicians to maintain, repair and deploy vehicles including Snowmobiles, Pisten-Bullys and Bulldozers. Mechanics can be based at Cambridge for five months before being deployed to support operations in Antarctica.




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